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General Information About Memory Cards

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq computers with memory card readers and memory cards.
Memory cards are generally used for importing pictures to and from digital cameras, but they can also be very useful for sharing files between other card readers. Memory cards use flash memory, a non-volatile form of memory. Non-volatile memory does not require an external power source to maintain its data.

About memory card readers

To read and write files on a memory card you must use a card reader. Many HP and Compaq computers come with built-in memory card readers. If your computer does not have a built-in memory card reader, you can easily add an external USB card reader at little cost. To read and write files, the card reader must support the type of card you are using. Make sure to get memory cards compatible with your device's card reader. Supported card types are usually listed next to the device's card reader.
CAUTION:Memory card data can become corrupted if the card is not removed via the method specific to the operating system. Refer to your operating system's documentation for specific procedure to safely remove memory cards.
NOTE:Not all HP computers include the same memory card readers. Check the specifications for your computer to determine which memory cards it reads.
Figure 1: Example of notebook computer memory card reader
Example of a notebook memory card reader
Figure 2: Example of desktop computer memory card reader
Example of a desktop computer memory card reader

Memory Card Types

The Secure Digital card is a highly secure and reliable small flash memory card. Each card features Content Protection for Recordable Media (CPRM) technology, which provides secure protection for commercial and copyrighted content. Adapters are available to read miniSD and microSD cards in full-size SD card readers.
The Secure Digital format includes three card families available in three form factors.
Secure Digital card families
  • Standard Capacity (SDSC)
  • High Capacity (SDHC)
  • Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Secure Digital form factors
  • Full size (SD)
  • Mini (miniSD)
  • Micro (microSD)
Figure 3: Secure Digital card
Image of Secure Digital card
Figure 4: Secure Digital miniSD card and adapter
Image of miniSD card and adapter
Figure 5: Secure Digital microSD card and adapter
Image of microSD card and adapter
  • Mechanical write protection switch
  • Up to 256 GB storage capacity
  • Up to 104 MB/s read/write speed
Many professional cameras use CompactFlash cards, allowing them to quickly shoot and record high-resolution images and video.
Figure 6: CompactFlash card
Image of CompactFlash card
  • Up to 256 GB storage capacity
  • Up to 167 MB/s read/write speed
The Memory Stick is a proprietary format developed by Sony, and is used across its range of electronic devices. Adapters are available to read Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG, and Memory Stick Micro (M2) cards in full-size Memory Stick card readers.
The Memory Stick family of cards includes the following:
  • Memory Stick
  • Memory Stick PRO
  • Memory Stick Duo
  • Memory Stick Micro (M2)
  • Memory Stick PRO-HG
Figure 7: Memory Stick
Image of Memory Stick
Figure 8: Memory Stick PRO
Image of Memory Stick PRO
Figure 9: Memory Stick PRO Duo
Image of Memory Stick PRO Duo
Figure 10: Memory Stick Micro (M2)
Image of Memory Stick Micro (M2)
Figure 11: Memory Stick PRO-HG
Image of Memory Stick PRO-HG
  • Mechanical write protection switch
  • Up to 32 GB storage capacity
  • Up to 30 MB/s read/write speed
Figure 12: SmartMedia card
Image of SmartMedia card
SmartMedia cards are removable flash memory cards that can be used in several different types of digital devices, including digital cameras, digital music players, cellular phones, pagers, and digital voice recorders. The SmartMedia data format is based on the ATA and DOS file standard.
  • Up to 128 MB storage capacity
  • Up to 2 MB/s read/write speed

Memory Card comparisons

TypeLengthWidthThicknessNumber of Pins
Secure Digital32 mm (1.26 in) 24 mm (0.94 in)2.1 mm (0.08 in)9
Secure Digital miniSD21.5 mm (0.85 in)20 mm (0.79 in)1.4 mm (0.06 in)11
Secure Digital microSD15 mm (0.59 in)11 mm (0.43 in)0.7 mm (0.03 in)8
CompactFlash I41 mm (1.61 in)36 mm (1.42 in)3 mm (0.12 in)50
CompactFlash II41 mm (1.61 in)36 mm (1.42 in)5 mm (0.2 in)50
Memory Stick/Memory Stick PRO50 mm (2 in)21.5 mm (0.85 in)2.8 mm (0.11 in)10
Memory Stick Duo/Memory Stick PRO Duo/Memory Stick PRO-HG31 mm (1.22 in)20 mm (0.79 in)1.6 mm (0.06 in)10
Memory Stick Micro (M2)15 mm (0.59 in)12.5 mm (0.49 in)1.2 mm (0.05 in)10
SmartMedia45 mm (1.77 in)37 mm (1.46 in)0.76 mm (0.03 in)22

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